A Mile in His Boots

By The Mighty Lu Bu

I don't own Xena, and I don't go cow tipping either.

Gabrielle awoke finding herself not where she laid down the night before. She reached her hands in the air and brought them close to her chest. Gabrielle suddenly thought, 'what the?' Gabrielle felt different as she felt her chest; she felt a pasta strainer instead of her top. She sat up and looked down. She said, "What?" She was wearing Joxer's pants.

'Why in the hell am I wearing his pants?' she wondered. Then she looked at her arms. 'Those aren't my arms'. She began to wonder what was going on. She examined herself only to discover she really wasn't herself anymore. In fact, she was now a he. Not just any he, she was Joxer. Gabrielle said, "I must be having a nightmare. Oh Gods I have his voice to." She turned her head and saw her old body.

She thought, 'I'm dead, and I'm in Tartarus.' She got up her feet, feeling awkward at the sudden shift of the center of gravity. She said to herself as she walked towards her old body, "When's the last time he washed this thing?" Then she was about to wake up whoever was in her old body. Then suddenly she received a fist to the face and fell back a few steps.

Xena shouted, "Joxer what were you trying to do? Don't tell me."

Gabrielle replied, "But I'm not Joxer, I'm Gabrielle."

Xena said not believing her, "I swear you get dumber by the day." Then suddenly Gabrielle's body awoke. Gabrielle herself looked at her body rise. It looked right at the body of Joxer and it suddenly screamed as it looked down at itself.

"What happened? What happened! Why am I seeing my body? Am I dead?" Demanded Joxer inside Gabrielle's body.

Xena turned around asking, "Gabrielle, what's wrong?"

When Xena saw she didn't respond Xena asked again, "What is wrong, Gabrielle?"

Joxer asked, "You're talking to me?"

Xena asked rhetorically, "your Gabrielle aren't ya?"

Joxer looked up and said, "Um, I don't think so. I'm Joxer."

The color drained from Xena's face as she looked at Joxer's body which was identifying itself as Gabrielle, and Gabrielle's body which was saying that it was Joxer. Xena asked with worried smile, "Ok, good prank. Nice try."

Gabrielle replied, "do you really think Joxer's smart enough to play along in a prank like this?"

Xena saw the body of Gabrielle shout, "Hey! I'm smart." Joxer then got up and promptly fell over.

Gabrielle said, "That center of gravity is a real kick in the ass." Joxer turned his (or rather her) face up blowing a leave out of his mouth.

Xena looked down at her and said, "Joxer?" She then turned back to look at Joxer's body and asked, "Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle replied, "Unfortunately."

Xena said concerned, "Um, we've got to talk about this." Gabrielle's body got up and then fell over again."

Gabrielle replied, "Dammit Joxer, your center of Gravity has changed! You have to adjust to it. Stop falling on my face!"

Joxer said, "Easier said than done." Gabrielle grabbed Joxer and helped him to her feet.

Gabrielle said calmly, "Easy," As she helped him not fall again.

Xena grabbed the other side as she said, "You've got to concentrate on your balance. Ok, Focus." They let go but quickly grabbed Joxer again.

Then they let go as Joxer said, "I think I got it."

Joxer then said realizing the full range of his predicament, "Hey, I'm in Gabrielle's body that means I get to see you…" Gabrielle cut him off, "You touch and I'll kill you."

Joxer said triumphantly, "Possession is nine tenths of the law."

Xena then said with a cold stare, "Ok let's make this clear, you touch and I'll kill you."

Joxer bowed his head and replied, "Ok."

Gabrielle asked, "Uh, Xena what are we going to do?"

Xena said not knowing, "Uh. Ummmm. I think… I don't know."

Gabrielle raised her arms in frustration, "Terrific."

Then she said noticing all the noise, "Joxer why do you wear all this crap."

She threw the helmet and the pasta strainer to the ground. Joxer shouted, "Hey. That's mine. You can't just throw them away."

Gabrielle replied, "Possession is nine tenths of the law."

Joxer replied, "C'mon guys. This stuff is from my family. Just like my sword and scabbard."

Then Joxer said, "Here, have your staff." Gabrielle caught it.

Xena then said, "I got it, we just need to find a God and we'll change you back." They both started walking and then they turned to around to see Joxer looking embarrassed in Gabrielle's body.

Gabrielle asked, "What is it?"

Joxer replied embarrassed holding his hands, "Um, I know you said no touching, but I um… gotta pee. How do we handle that?"

Xena turned to Gabrielle in Joxer's body and said, "Well it's your body not mine."

Gabrielle groaned as she said, "C'mon Joxer, I'll make you don't piss all over yourself." Gabrielle grabbed Joxer's arm and escorted him to bushes.

After a few minutes they came back as Xena said, "Took you both long enough."

Gabrielle replied in annoyance, "Idiot doesn't know how to work a skirt."

Joxer replied, "Hey, it's the first time you know. It's not like I cross-dress on the weekends or anything."

Xena said, "C'mon idiot." Joxer followed behind almost falling again.

A few minutes later Xena said to Gabrielle as Joxer had fallen behind them, "You know Gabrielle, you should go talk to him. This is a new thing for him and he's not, handling it as well as you are."

Gabrielle replied, "I wouldn't know what to say, and I don't like talking to him."

Xena said strongly, "Look Gabrielle, he didn't ask to be trapped in your body. He needs help. Go talk to him." Gabrielle groaned as she allowed herself to fallback until she was walking next to her old body.

Joxer said looking down at the ground all sad "What, here to call me an idiot again."

Gabrielle tried for a joke, "For someone who's only been a woman for a couple of hours you have done quite well with the melodramatic look."

Joxer replied, "Do you really think I wanted this? I liked who I was? Sure I like you, but I don't want to be you. I want to be me."

Gabrielle replied, "I'm sorry Joxer. I'm sorry that this has made me so mean. It's just…"

Joxer interrupted, "You couldn't think of anything worse in the world than being me."

Gabrielle replied, "No, that's not it. I can think of worse. It's just I woke and discovered that I was this instead of being that, like I was last night."

Joxer asked, "What if I'm stuck like this for the rest of my life?"

Gabrielle replied surprising herself, "It can't be all bad. Hey you'd get to be queen of the amazons."

Joxer said sarcastically, "Yea that's a perk."

Gabrielle then said with her hand on her shoulder, "That was a joke too, ok, I'm not telling good jokes today. Ok, we are going to fix this. And until then I'm going to help you get adjusted. I won't let anything happen to you."

Joxer asked, "Sure, because it's your body."

Gabrielle replied putting her arm around him, "No, because you're my friend and I care about you."

Joxer replied smiling, "Really?"

Gabrielle, "Yup, you're a good friend and I'm going to take care of you, because that's what friends do." Joxer laid his head on her shoulder.

Later on, Xena said, "I know what to do. The Gods have ability to put souls in different bodies. We just need to find one that is willing to help."

Gabrielle asked, "Where are we going find one?"

Xena said, "We just go to the nearest temple or something."

Xena looked at Gabrielle and seeing Joxer was out of ear shot she asked, "So what's it like?"

Gabrielle asked, "What's what like?"

Xena replied, "You know, being a him?"

Gabrielle replied, "Irritating. This thing is so hairy I can't stand it. Everywhere. Hair! Then there is walking. Let me tell you something, I don't know how guys do it. This thing between my legs is quite uncomfortable to walk with." Xena raised an eyebrow as she looked down for a second.

Xena said, "You haven't felt nothing yet I'm sure."

Gabrielle asked, "What do you mean?"

Xena said, "The next town we are entering, I hear Meg is there."

Gabrielle asked, "You mean the Meg, the one that likes Joxer?"

Xena replied smiling, "The one and only."

Gabrielle replied disturbed, "You can't be serious. Xena you can't do that to me. She'll try to put her hands on me."

Xena replied, "It's not like something you haven't felt before."

Gabrielle replied, "What do you mean? Oh that? Just because she looks like you don't make it you."

Xena replied, "Well, let's go. There is a temple to Aphrodite there." Gabrielle relented knowing that maybe they went there could get out of this mess.

Joxer caught up and said, "You know when I get my body back I'm thinking I should grow my hair long. I kind of like this. Feels nice. Also this not as hot as that outfit I wear. So a clothes change is in order."

Xena said, "I see you with a bare midriff I'm going to beat you senseless."

Joxer said, "Well I wasn't going to do that. But I was thinking, short sleeves and shorts."

Gabrielle replied, "Maybe you shouldn't expose that much skin."

Joxer replied, "You two do? Why can't I?"

Gabrielle replied, "You're not a warrior." Gabrielle wasn't paying attention as tripped on a stick. Would have been minor but she's still getting used to the new center of gravity.

She fell and landed crotch first on a rock. Gabrielle rolled over saying, "What the hell is this excruciating pain?"

Joxer said, "That is the greatest torment that men live with."

Gabrielle replied, "Feels like I my stomach is collapsing."

Joxer said, "Nothing worse than when you get hit hard enough to feel it in your stomach. It goes away in a few minutes." Joxer was smiling slightly at the image of Gabrielle in his body in fetal position rocking backwards in pain.

After a few minutes Gabrielle got to her feet. She said, "Remind me to be careful. Oh Gods."

Joxer then said, "Maybe when we get back you won't hit me so much. You've hit me there before you know."

Gabrielle replied, "I won't. I never knew it hurt like that; I just thought all men were babies when it came to that."

After a short walk they finally went entered a town. Gabrielle said, "The people here don't smile a lot do they." She had noticed a different reaction to her presence.

Whereas Joxer said glowing, "I've never seen so many smiling faces." Gabrielle cocked her head slightly irritated.

Xena said, "Come now Gabrielle, surely you not being someone people likes to look at isn't that bad."

Gabrielle smiled, "Oh no, it a break. Joxer can enjoy every moment he wants to." It did however bug her a bit not to be greeted with so many smiles.

Gabrielle then said, "I'll join you in a moment, I'm not agreeing with something Joxer ate last night." Gabrielle ran to the nearest bathroom stall. She first entered the women's bathroom only to be greeted with a scream and then walked out. She said, "Whoops." She then walked into the men's bathroom.

Xena and Joxer went ahead and went into the bar to wait for Gabrielle. Once inside Xena and Joxer approached the barkeep, Xena asked for one single drink. Joxer walked off to look around. Joxer was approached by a man saying, "Hey, sit with me."

Joxer not used to being asked this replied, "Sure." The man was a bald strong looking man with a beard that was in a twist. The man asked kind of sly, which Joxer didn't catch, "So what brings you around here."

Joxer replied, "Looking for Aphrodite, you see I haven't really been myself."

The man said staring at her tits, "Yea sure." Joxer was too preoccupied with someone being nice to him that he continued, "You see yesterday I wasn't like this. I was different."

He replied raising his eyebrows, "Well you look fine to me."

Joxer replied, "Thank you. Well anyway."

He said, "Enough talking, come here baby." Joxer looked disgusted as he saw the man's lips make the shape of a kiss.

Joxer said disgusted, "No."

The man looked angry as he said, "What do you mean no! No one says no!" He grabbed Joxer as Joxer yelled "Xena! Help!" He started licking Joxer's face and grabbed his breast.

Xena slammed the man's head into the table. He tried to get up but Xena punched him out. She then grabbed Joxer's ear and drug him away from there. Xena said, "Listen Joxer, if you're going to be a woman, you will have to learn to pay attention. To see if someone actually is trying to talk to you or they just want in your pants. Gabrielle wouldn't have allowed this to go that far."

Joxer said, "I'm sorry Xena, I'm just not used to people being this nice to me, so I didn't see that. Gods, he groped me. Yuck."

Xena said, "No harm done I guess. I'll give you basic tips. Don't talk to men in bars. When a man stares at your chest instead of your face, he's not listening and only interested in one thing. In fact, don't talk to men around here at all. Now I wonder where Gabrielle is."

8

Gabrielle exited the bathroom. She said, "Why are men's restrooms so much more dirty. God and that smell too. I'll be happy when things are back to normal." Then suddenly she felt someone pinch her ass.

She said, "Hey." She turned around, it was Meg.

Meg grabbed what she saw to be Joxer and planted a kiss on Gabrielle's lips. Gabrielle pushed her off. She said, "Stop that."

Meg said, "Oh. I know what you really want."

Meg grabbed Gabrielle's crotch. Gabrielle removed the hand as she said, "What the hell is this?"

Meg said, "Is that a dagger in your pants or are you just happy to see me."

Gabrielle looked down as she put her hand there hide it. Meg said, "Oh don't by shy. You weren't the last time you saw me." She raised her eyebrows smiling.

Gabrielle said, "Uh no, I'm sick?" She faked coughing. Gabrielle said, "I have a cold."

Meg said, "Awe, I know just what to do to clear that up." She grabbed Gabrielle's hand and drug her along.

Gabrielle tried to fight but she was amazed at Megs strength (And Joxer's lack of). She was soon gone as Xena emerged from the bar with Joxer who was glad to leave. Xena asked, "Gabrielle you're not done in their yet." Xena said to Joxer, "Wait here." Xena went in.

Joxer was standing there as he saw a little boy running. Then he saw a horse coming for the little boy. The boy looked up frozen in fear. Joxer said, "Look out!" He ran and grabbed the boy carrying him from out in front of the horse. Joxer had a strange and pleasant feeling come over him as he held the boy. He had held kids before, but it was different. It felt more natural, like an instinct. Joxer just felt wonderful about it.

A woman said, "Thanks ma'am for saving my boy."

Joxer handed the child to the woman as he said, "It was no problem." He rubbed the boy's head smiling.

The mother said, "What do you say Jonah?"

Jonah replied, "Thank you."

Joxer bent down rubbing his head again as he said, "It was my pleasure." They walked away.

Xena stepped beside him, "Found something you like?"

Joxer replied amazed, "I'd never felt that before. It was wonderful. It was like something came over me."

Xena asked, "Guys don't feel that?"

Joxer replied, "We do but It's different, we love children. Some of us do anyway, but this was like straight from the heart."

Xena replied, "I don't think all women feel that either, I think it's more or less people like Gabrielle, people who are more naturally maternal. C'mon, we need to find Gabrielle."

8

Gabrielle was drug into a building. Inside the building were a dozen scantily clad women. Each one was happy to see Joxer. Then suddenly a hand landed on her ass as she stepped forward to get away from it. Gabrielle said, "I'm sorry I can't do this." '

Meg grabbed her arm and said, "C'mon, you enjoyed yourself so much last time." Gabrielle dived for the door screaming.

Xena and Joxer saw Gabrielle come out as Meg was behind her. She shouted, "Ok Joxer! Don't come back! I don't deserve to be treated like this!" She went back inside the building and then slammed the door.

Joxer said to Gabrielle, "Gee thanks Gabrielle, you ruined it for me!"

Gabrielle said catching her breath, "They were seducing me!"

Gabrielle Continued, "I need to get my body back."

Joxer asked, "What if I don't want to go back?"

Gabrielle asked stunned, "What?"

Joxer said, "People are so nice to me like this. I mean there was that guy in bar, I didn't much appreciate being man handled, but everyone smiles at me. Women who aren't whores talk to me. Sure it will take some getting used to, but it's nice for people to be nice to me."

Gabrielle got angry, "I want my body back!"

Joxer replied, "No! You had it, you didn't appreciate it! Except for Xena, you take for granted how nice people are to you because you look like this. Sure there are perverts out there, but people like you and you don't appreciate it when everyone is nice to you. You don't deserve to look like this." Joxer ran off.

Gabrielle said, "I...I…,"

Xena said, "Just stay here. I'll talk to him." Xena went after him as Gabrielle started walking around.

She looked around at all the people. She got close to a woman and said trying to be nice to her, "Hey, how are you doing?"

The woman made an annoyed face and said, "Don't talk me." She walked away. Then Gabrielle continued to walk around. No one was smiling at her, and people were trying to avoid her.

He bumped into another woman as a man said, "Hey, stay away from my woman!"

He shoved Gabrielle as Gabrielle said, "I'm sorry."

He replied, "Damn right you're sorry!"

The woman replied looking down on Gabrielle, "Let's go honey; he's not worth our time."

Gabrielle walked onward, tripping over her feet as she slipped to the ground. People started laughing as she had to help herself back up. She thought, 'This does suck, if I were who I was before they might have tried to help me. I tell you what; I'm going to be nicer to Joxer if I ever get my body back.' Then Aphrodite appeared.

8

Xena found Joxer sitting on a rock just staring at the ground. Xena sat beside him. He said, "Xena, I just want people to like me. Treat me like someone special."

Xena put her arm around him and said, "You are someone special."

Joxer said, "Yea sure. Even you guys are mean. Everyone is mean. This is the first time in my life people have tried to be nice to me."

Xena said, "You know a lot of that is shallowness. They are being nice to you because your form is attractive."

Joxer asked, "That's supposed to make me feel better?"

Xena replied, "That's not the point. The point is that most people are very shallow and care about looks. There are a few people in the world that will like you for you. It won't be about what you look like or anything else like that. It can be hard when everyone around you is mean, but there are people who care for you because of who you are. I'm one of them."

Joxer then said, "But not Gabrielle. She can be so mean you know. Just last night I was wishing that Gabrielle could walk a mile in my shoes to see what it's like." Xena had an 'aha' moment as she realized what happened. She was about to say something when Aphrodite appeared with Gabrielle beside her.

Gabrielle said going to a knee, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm always so mean to you. I don't know why I do it, but I'm going to be better. I'm going to be nicer to you. Will you forgive me?"

Joxer had a couple tears in his eyes as he reached out and hugged Gabrielle. He said, "Its ok, friend."

Xena looked at Aphrodite with a disapproving eyebrow raise. Aphrodite said, "What! I'm the goddess of all love, not just romantic love. Friendship is a type of love. In that department Joxer was hurting so I decided to help him, and Gabrielle. Joxer needed the friendship love and Gabrielle needed a little understanding that is essential to love. What better way than to put them in each other's bodies?"

Xena said, "Switch them back now."

Aphrodite said annoyed "Alright." She blew into her hand like blowing a kiss and pink dust sprinkled Joxer and Gabrielle.

Joxer and Gabrielle let go as they realized that they were themselves again. Gabrielle smiled as she felt her own arms and hair. But Joxer looked sad. Gabrielle asked, "What is wrong."

Joxer said, "you're probably going to go back to mean again."

Gabrielle replied, "No I'm not." She hugged him again as he hugged her back.

Joxer then asked, "You think maybe you and I could get together romantically?"

Gabrielle continued to hug him, "Not in your wildest dreams."

Xena said, "To Hades with it." She joined in on the hug. Aphrodite said, "My work is done here." Aphrodite smiled as she disappeared.

Later on Joxer said something stupid and Gabrielle was about to hit him and Joxer was flinching but then she stopped herself. Gabrielle said then touched his shoulder and said, "Think about what you say when you say things. Ok." Joxer nodded.

Gabrielle went over beside Xena. Xena said, "I'm proud of you Gabrielle."

Gabrielle asked, "Why?"

Xena responded, "That was sweet of you to apologize to Joxer like that."

Gabrielle replied, "I realize it's not so easy to be him. It was certainly an enlightening experience"

Xena replied, "Would you do it again?"

Gabrielle replied, "Not on my life."

The end